Tuesday, July 13, 2004

More computers, more jobs?
Roopinder Singh

Personal computer sales are up in India, and the Union Budget has exempted computers and computer parts from excise duty. Though at this point, it is not clear how much it will impact the price of computers, it will definitely make them cheaper. But will there be a demand for more jobs in this sector?

The answer is in the affirmative.

Over 30 lakh personal computers were sold in the country last year and growth is expected at a fairly rapid clip, especially with the incentives given in the Budget. The focus on education will also help, since educational intuitions will now have some funds for computerisation. Logically speaking, if there are more tools, there will be a need for more workers to operate them, thus more jobs.

"Hardware manufacturing will get a boost and the products will become more price competitive compared to imported computers. Project-based software business and BPOs should be able to buy more computers for the same project cost. More computer sales would mean increased employment for computer hardware people. On the software side, in the IT sector, the government's e-usage will go up and more schools will be able to buy computers for the education of children. In the long term, PCs will penetrate the daily lives of more and more people. Higher computer literacy should give an overall boost to the IT industry as well as to the employment of IT people," says Arvind Mehan, President of the Industries Association of Chandigarh.

Software major Infosys will soon have a big presence in Chandigarh, which will again generate employment. In any case, Infosys and Wipro have been on a hiring spree, and have added thousands of employees in the last quarter. There is more work, and more need for workers.

IT students must carefully study the market and check out various appointment advertisements in order to find out what the demand is for. All too often, students find that what they have studied does not have much bearing on what is in demand. There are jobs for computer professionals, from entry-level positions in data processing and transcription to software engineering and work in C++ and XML.